It is clear that UNITE’s campaign to organise 7-Eleven workers in Victoria is starting to have some effect. Today the Workplace Ombudsman announced plans to send ‘know your rights’ brochures to thousands of international students at universities and TAFE colleges throughout the country.
Referring to 7-Eleven the Workplace Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said that in Melbourne, inspectors have targeted 24-hour convenience stores in the CBD for auditing after public reports that overseas students working after hours were not be being paid properly.
Wilson said “the number of overseas students coming to Australia was creating a new group of vulnerable workers open to exploitation by unscrupulous employers”. This has been the case with 7-Eleven. For example this week UNITE revealed that they had been in contact with several 7-Eleven workers who were only being paid $8 per hour!
There were more than 459,000 international students enrolled in Australia at the end of July. It is in the interests of all unions to attempt to organise these workers. If we allow greedy multinationals like 7-Eleven to get away with this behaviour more and more employers will try to follow suit.
Pressure is now mounting on 7-Eleven to significantly improve the wages and conditions of all of their workers.